Friday, March 20, 2015

If You Can?                                                                             03-20-15

Mark 9:23 (NASB) 23  And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes."
I'll start by giving a shout out to my son Adrian and his lovely wife Xuan on the birth of their daughter yesterday. She was 7lb. 6oz. and I would tell you her name but the last time I talked to Adrian she didn't have one yet!! Oh well, when I hear I'll pass it on. Baby Jenkins for now will have to do.(smile) I just thank God all is well. The small details  (such as names!) can wait. (smile again)

Ever have someone or something try to steal your joy or bring you down? Yeah, I thought so. It happens all the time doesn't it? As I was reading early this morning when I got home from work, I came across this passage. I looked at the reply of Jesus and started trying to figure out His mood when He said "If you can?" Some translations use a question mark(?) and some use an exclamation point(!)

Looking at that I asked myself "Was Jesus being sarcastic? Was He speaking from anger? Was He frustrated with the doubt expressed in the question?" Or maybe He was responding to an effort to steal His focus and joy. I don't know for sure, maybe it was a mixture of all of them. But, one thing for sure, it was just another effort, intentional or no, to how do we say it today?...pull Jesus off point.

Look at the bigger picture for a moment. Jesus had just been the focus of a "major moment" in His ministry hadn't He. What's that you say Ronnie? Jesus had just "come down from the mountain".
LITERALLY!! The Lord had just taken His closet confidants, His inner circle up on a mountain and had shared His true glory with them. He was transfigured before them. They saw the God in the man. If that wasn't enough, a booming voice from out of nowhere came and proclaimed that Jesus was indeed God's Son. Do you think that He was having a "mountain top" experience? Read the whole ninth chapter to get the perspective.

So, He's coming down off the mountain, spies out a large crowd arguing about something, and joins in. You know the story.. the disciples are unable to cast an unclean spirit out of a son and apparently Jesus is frustrated or irritated or something.

Mark 9:19 (NASB) 19  And He *answered them and *said, "O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!"

There's those question marks and exclamation points again. He then asks the father of the afflicted boy how long it has been going on, and, in the middle of the father's response comes the "if You can."  And here is the point of my message. Jesus response. I've got this picture in my mind. See if you can relate.

"If I can?! Listen brother, I just came off this mountain where I was literally changed into my heavenly glory in front of and for the benefit of my closest friends. Not only that, my guys here heard a voice coming down from above. From God..... oh yeah He's my FATHER!! He does anything that I ask Him. Now, you're going to ask me" 'If I can??!!'"

It had to be a jolt didn't it? Well, maybe not, after all Jesus WAS and IS God. But, just between you, me and the fence post, I believe it was a jolt. A reality check. The Son of God was subject to all the "stuff" that we have to deal with. Well, it's the same with us isn't it? 

You know how it goes don't you? God does a great work in your life. You have a close encounter with God at church. You get an unexpected financial blessing. A wayward child is drawn back home. A physical healing. An impossible situation made possible. The list goes on and on. It is God being God. You are rejoicing and praising God and all of a sudden here come the boo birds.

A negative reaction or statement and the battle inside you is joined. The object being to pull you off point. To get your eyes and your heart off God.It's the age old battle. God does great things for us and the devil tries to cast doubt in our hearts. It can be very easy to lose sight of just who God is and just how much power He possesses. We, much like the father in the text, can harbor doubt and fear in our heart if we allow all the negative to grab hold of us. We end up short changing ourselves by asking God to help us "if He can."

I read that God never comforts us in our doubt. He expects and demands faith.

Hebrews 11:6 (NASB) 6  And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Yes, it is a battle to stay positive. It is a struggle to not let others pull you down. Whether intentional or not, people will steal your focus and your joy if you are not vigilant.The Bible warns us of this. 

Proverbs 4:23 (NASB) 23  Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Was Jesus irritated or frustrated? I believe that He was. BUT, He never let it sway Him.It never interfered with His mission. He kept right on going. We get hurt, we get misunderstood, we get frustrated. It's a part of being human. The prescription for all the negative that daily surrounds us is to keep your head down and your eyes straight ahead.

Hebrews 12:2 (NASB) 2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

It's not if you can, it's like the wise sage Bob the Builder says "Yes He Can!!"

Psalm 77:1 (NASB) 1
 My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud; My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.

God Bless

Friday, March 13, 2015

In One Ear.....                                                                          03-13-15

Proverbs 13:1 (NASB) 1  A wise son accepts his father's discipline, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

I like the KJV a little better on this one.

Proverbs 13:1 (KJV) 1  A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

When I read this verse today, the Holy Spirit quickened me to use it as a text for my message. When I went to the Strong's however, to look up the meanings of some words, I was surprised at what I found.That word 'discipline' is used in a negative context in this verse. It means to chastise or correct. But, I felt the Spirit gave me a different perspective today. One of guidance or instruction. At any rate, being the stickler for context that I am, I felt it necessary to mention the negative connotation of the verse. Maybe that doesn't amount to much, but these days to me, it is everything when reading or writing about the Word of God. Whew!! Now that has been taken care of, I will endeavor to relate what the Spirit of the Lord spoke to my heart.

Do you sometimes feel that there is something more out there for you? Something that God has planned for you? An unfulfilled destiny? Or perhaps a new assignment or direction? You can't put your finger on it, but you sense it is out there. There is a restlessness in your spirit. Not really a feeling of frustration, just a residing restlessness. You feelin' me here?

For me lately it has been a sense that time is slipping away. Now to be sure, I realize that my age with it's changing perspective plays into that. But, quite frankly, time IS slipping away and I don't want to miss something. The flip side of that coin, as I am now reminded is the fact that Abraham was 75(that's SEVENTY FIVE years old before God started really dealing with him) So, it ain't over til' it's over...right ?? PTL.

Well, I have felt just that way recently, and when I read that verse in Proverbs today, the Lord mildly jolted me on the inside. Look at a different way of saying this.

Proverbs 13:1 (GW) 1  A wise son listens to his father's discipline, but a mocker does not listen to reprimands.

It was the "listen" that hit me. My Bible says "hears."  "A wise son hears....." You see many times these feelings of restlessness of being "antsy" are nothing more than our flesh. Maybe we are bored. Maybe it is a desire of our flesh that is a passing fancy. Look back one chapter and you will see that the Bible speaks of worthless pursuits or fantasies.

Proverbs 12:11 (NASB) 11  He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.

But, there is the distinct possibility that these gut feelings are God wanting to move us in a new area or dimension in our lives. He wants to do a "new thing" with or in us. In order to discern, to "figure out" whether or not it is God trying to guide us, we have to train our ears and hearts to listen and hear Him.

In the service back in the day, my brother-in-law, as far as I know, had one job and one job only. He listened. He spent a year learning a new language and was shipped off to a distant land to LISTEN. That was ALL he did. He was a listening post. That's what the Lord spoke to my heart today.

Many times we are restless, anxious, antsy(fill in the blank) or maybe even fearful about what's next. Maybe, just maybe, it is because we have not become a listening post. No, no I didn't say we were being disobedient, nope. Just due to all the distractions, gotta do this, gotta go there, we haven't taken the time to still ourselves and listen to what God has in mind for us. If we do, there may be an answer behind one of those doors.

Or maybe we have heard God speaking and we are hesitant to act upon His Word. (Yes, sadly I am a charter member of that club) I read this a few days ago. "You will always be one step of obedience away from the next truth God wants you to learn about Him." Look again, "A WISE(caps mine) son hears..."

Not only sons,but daughters too.

Brothers and sisters, unless we become listening posts to hear God, we may miss out on some thrilling, amazing blessings that He wants to drop on our heads. Amen??  AMEN!!

 Psalm 73:24 (NASB) 24  With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

God Bless


Friday, March 6, 2015

What's The Buzz?                                                         03-06-17

Matthew 4:12 (NASB) 12  Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee;
From a time long ago. Remember that song from Jesus Christ Superstar? Well, I've got a different type of buzz going on today. Literally, as I write these words I have a "buzz" going on in my ears. It evolves from a buzz like a sea shell into a high pitched ringing. A common malady known to many as Tinnitus. I would not even suffer it this space or your time except for the fact that God used it as an object lesson this week for yours truly.

It seems lately, at least for me, that the Lord is trying to get me alone. You know what I'm talking about? It's been that way for several weeks now. It is as if He wants me to withdraw as best I can and spend some time with Him and Him alone, away from the madding crowd. Ever feel like that? Get away from all the voices around me that compete for my ear.

Now, where was I?...oh yeah, anyway about this buzzing. I was at the 29th birthday party of a relative this Sunday past and this buzzing was driving me crazy! Let me describe it for you. I was in the middle of Bill Jr.'s(my brother-in-law) living room, seated on the couch next to Bill Sr.(my father-in-law) attempting to carry on a conversation. All around me were people talking and laughing and whatnot. The crazy thing was the voices and the laughter were being AMPLIFIED to the degree that I could not hear what Bill Sr. was saying.

I could hear Kathy Roper(my sister-in-law) talking and laughing with Lauren Lawson(my...?? what are you to me Lauren?) about all sorts of stuff. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE'S conversation was magnified in my ears. I would look at Bill Sr., sitting not 12 inches from me and quizzically answer "What? Huh? Did you say something?" And he was sitting right next to me!! I finally apologized and told Bill that there was something going on in my ears and I could not hear him. It was weird.

Well, not at that precise point, but, a couple days later, the Lord reminded me of that little episode and quietly spoke to my heart. He pointed me to all the voices that were trying to burglarize my time with Him. That's the way it goes isn't it? Circumstances, demands of this life etc., are many times amplified to a fever pitch in our heads. Voices, some out of sincere concern, others, nothing more than catcalls from the cheap seats, conspire to grab your attention away from what God would say to you.

It was the same way for the Son of God wasn't it? I grabbed a couple of verses from memory to illustrate my point.

 Mark 1:35 (NASB) 35  In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.
Luke 5:16 (NASB) 16  But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

He would "often slip away" and get alone with God. Although, the Bible seems to be silent, I would bet my last dollar that Jesus faced circumstances, demands and voices that endeavored to tear Him away from His alone time with His Father. If Jesus, the Son of God, needed to "often slip away"... then should we not do the same? 

Brothers and sisters, I have said this before and I will say it again. There are dark, very dark storm clouds on the spiritual horizon. Not for this country alone, but, for the entire world. The 'voices', both good and bad are amplified in our world of today. We need to find God for OURSELVES. The buzz, if we entertain it, can be deafening. 

Psalm 91:9-10 (NASB) 9  For you have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10  No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent.

God Bless